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Full text of "Near Miss #3"



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SOLIDARITY CENTER 

LAWRENCE, KS 66044 
785-865-1374 



Tales of a Greasy-Spoon is a book of entertaining 
stories by French expatriate Bruno Gheerbrant. My 
favorites are "A Rooster Among Dykes" and "The Rosa 
Parks Thing I Hadn't Heard Of." It looks expensive 
to print, so better send cash to POB 426935, San 
Francisco, CA 94142-6935. 
Notes From The Lighthouse Joshua writes about 
hitchhiking, living in a cabin behind a friend's 
house, and a 24-hour garage sale. It's good. Send 
$1.25 or fun stuff to POB 165, Eureka, CA 95502. 
Pathetic Life In this autobiographical zine, Doug 
writes very entertainingly about the sometimes 
mundane, often rather grody details of his life. 
If he has a pathetic life, he sure seems to be 
enjoying it. 24 Ellis St. #141, San Francisco, CA 
94102. 
Dwelling Portably is a great source for information 
and discussion about living cheap and simple, 
mostly in rural or wilderness situations. Trade 
'em information about your own portable dwelling 
experiences or send a dollar to POB 190, Philomath, 
OR 97370. 





Well my friends, the time has come for Near Miss 
#3» Like the first two issues, this one is happening 
at sort of a turning point in my life. To give 
everyone who's interested a brief update on my lifet 
in May I moved out of Ganas and into an apartment on 
the Lower East Side. I was living with Diana and a 
couple roommates. That was a summer sublet, and now 
Diana and I are living in her studio in Hell's Kitchen. 
I had a happy, though not very productive summer. 
Now the fall is bringing lots of activities. I'm 
working for the NY Public Library, taking classes at 
Hunter College, working on a collectively-run info- 
shop project, and editing this "-.ine and another zine. 
More on all this stuff later. 

Now for the basic zine info. This is Near Miss 
#3, printed in September 1994. You can receive a 
copy of this zine by sending me a zine of your own, 
a piece of artwork or writing for NM, or a friendly 
letter. Plus if I like you I'll give it to you no 
matter what you do. At heart this is an autoniograph- 
ical zine, but I am happy to print things by other 
people if they fit in well. I look for things from a 
personal perspective. Everything by me in here is 
anticopyright; reprint at will. Other people may 
want you to ask before you reprint their stuff. I 
have copies of the first two issues if anyone wants 'em, 
Please send all zine correspondence toi 

Brendan POB l804 NYC 10009 



Thanks for reading! 




Diana 



Even though she requested not to be mentioned, 
I can't print a zine that's supposedly about my life 
and thoughts and such without talking about the most 
important person in my life. 

Diana and I met in the Greyhound bus station in 
St. Louis in the summer of 1993. We sat together on 
the bus from St. Louis to Indianapolis j it was five 
hours and we talked the whole way. Maybe it wasn't 
love at first sight, but it was something ; by the time 
the bus rolled into Indianapolis, we were holding 
hands. After that trin, we wrote to each other and 
talked on the phone a lot. She was living in 
Washington D.C. and I had just moved to New York. 
We spent a few weekends together, and then jumped to 
her moving up to NYC and us living together. 

We've spent the whole summer together, seeing 
each other every day, and it's been wonderful. I'm 
in love. Diana's a creative dreamer, a cosmic 
anarchist, and an angel. She's very much in touch with 
love, beauty, and the spiritual world. She's 
beautiful herself, and she's fun . She likes adventure, 
risk, and wild sex. She's also a caring, giving 
person who, like me, has faith in the human spirit. 
We have similar goals for t»e future, and I hope 
we're together in the future to carry them out. 

Diana and I are building trust in our relation- 
ship, so maybe this public declaration will create 
some confidence. I love you, Diana. 




Zine 

Reviews 



The Trouble With Andre is a charming little book of 
stories and pictures from Cara. Her favorite letter 
is D, and she dreams of someday being a British guy 
named Nigel. Send her a nice letter at 69^3 N. 
Ridge, Chicago, IL 606V5. 

Budzine Bud's another person who, like me, is 
mysteriously driven to document his life and make 
it available to others. He tells us of a disappoint- 
ing trip to the circus, and paying his taxes. Send 
Bud a dollar or a zine in trade at 3201 E 24 St., 
Tucson, AZ 85713-2204. 

The Firefly is a sweetheart zine with an edge. It 
combines radical political pieces exposing our 
government's terrorism with fun kids' drawings and 
family-type stories. Write to them at Box 133, Angle 
Inlet, MN 56711. 

Scam has a great review section, in which Mark reviews 
the disease/affliction asthma, the loquat tree and 
fruit, and Boone's Wine. My issue included a free 
postcard. Send a photo of your mom or something 
else to 5101 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006. 

Gogglebox Jenn creates one of the finest zines in 
zineland (but she hasn't written to me lately, grr). 
If you love roadtrip stories as much as I do, and 
appreciate good writin' on other topics too, get in 
touch with Jenn G. Box, POB 250402, Columbia Stn. 
NYC 10025-1536. 

First Person prints stories from various folks on a 
certain theme. Issue #1 is Body Parts, and has 
gruesome tales with titles like "The Bloody Stump." 
Submit or send $2.00 to Tracey West, POB 4l6, 
S parkill, NY 10976. 



A H0IH6 Need Not Be A HOUSe 



by Julie Summers 

An establishment think-tank would have had 
difficulty coining r a more misleading 1ah*1 than 
"hom*l**s." But I doubt that was the source. More 
likelv, some reporter happened to use it. and 
it caught on, because H provides: 

* a scapegoat for law enforcers to blame crime on; 

* a scapegoat for public health agencies to blame 
disease on; 

* an excuse to hire more bureaucrats to administer 
the "homeless problem" ; 

* a red herring to cover m the real problem, which 
is h^ch cost« nf housing, due largely to government 
regulations; 

* a term to disparage unconventional dwellinsrways. 
(In a mild climate, a cardboard shack or even a 
sleeping: bag may provide adequate shelter and be 
a comfortable home- To say th« occupants are 
"homeless" is a put-down and a lie. created to 
help justify evicting them.) 

Who are the "homeless"? The term has been applied 
willy nilly to a wide variety of people who may have 
little more in common than unstylish appearance or 
behavior. Thus, I feel unstylish is a more truthful 

term. 

Sometimes I live with little more for shelter than 
a sleeping bag. I resent being called "homeless" i 
my camp is my home — and I don't feel deficient, as the 
less in homeless might imply. 

"Take a lesson from the snail, which 
everywhere doth roam carrying its own house 
still, still it is at home: be thine own 
palace or the world's thy jail." 

— Author? 
Or, as I overheard a young woman say, "I have no home; 
but I'm at home wherever I am." 

This is not 'o deny that there are people without 
comfortable shelters. However, respectors of self- 
determination will not pass pronouncements on others, 
but will leave it up to each individual to say whether 
he has a home. 



My Trip to 



Albany 



This summer I went up to Aloany with my buddy Ed. 
I saw the Factsheet Five archives and did other fun 
stuff, and then rode my bicycle from Albany to New York, 
camping out along the way. 

The first day or so in Albany, I met some of Ed's 
friends and saw some of Albany and Troy, Then Ed was 
driving back to NYC and I couldn't stay with his friend 
anymore, so after he dropped me off, I started looking 
for a place to crash. I considered sleeping indoors, 
but I couldn't find a hostel, and didn't want to shell 
out the cash for a motel room, so I ended up camping 
out. Albany has a big plaza downtown with all the 
museums and such, and I slept in a little park adjacent 
to that. I didn't even have to set up my tent, just 
curled up in my blanket on the grass. It was fun to 
camp out right under the noses of all the big state 
institutions. 

The next day was my big day at the Factsheet Five 
archives. In case you live in a cave, F5 is a 
gigantic guide to amateur publications like this one, 
(send $6 (worth it) to F5, POB 170099. San Francisco, 
CA 9*+ 117-0099) F£ was the first non-mainstream thing 
I was ever exposed to, living with my parents in 
suburban Florida. Mike Gunderloy was the editor then, 
and when he got burnt out a few years ago (after 
publishing F^ for a decade let us sing songs of praise), 
he donated all the zines he had kept, and assorted 
other FJ> documents to thp NY state library. That's what 
I went to see. It was a great experience. I got to 
see a bunch of early issues of F£ itself, and some old 
lost issues of my high school underground newspaper, 
and other neat old zines. Now that these zines are 
part of an archive, they are handled like the treasures 
they are. I was told, "Please do not lean on the 
documents," and, "Please use pencil for your notes. 
You may make a stray pen mark on a zine." That was 



nice, and funnyi I'm sure the editors themselves never 
handled their publications that carefully. One 
drawback is that you can't go look through the zines 
yourself; you have to have a librarian bring certain 
publications out to you. But I still heartily 
recommend the archives to ardent zine fans and small 
press historians. 

I spent one more night in Albany and then headed 
back to the Big Apple — by bike. I must have been a 
hilarious si^ht. It had gotten unexpectedly cold in 
Albany, so I hit a thrift store for a goofy-looking 
but warm shirt and long pants (which I had to make a 
rope belt for) ; I had my tent and bedroll tied to my 
rear rack, along with plastic saddlebags. And of 
course it rained the first day, so add to that picture 
a giant poncho blob and morp sunermarket bags covering 
my gear. I may have looked goofy, but I had a great 
time. I spent two days and two nights on the road, and 
I would ride almost all day, stopping to check out the 
towns and the awesome views of the Hudson. Then at 
night I would just find a clearing near highway 9, 
spread out my blanket, and collapse. I saw some 
beautiful country and got really high on bike riding. 
My bike made it just fine; I finally got a flat tire 
at 1^5 St. in Manhattan, where I could just hop on the 
train, go home, and recover. 



Meander 



Quarterly 



I am now editor of Meander Quarterly , "newsletter 
of evolutionary anarchists." The editorship is 
supposed to rotate annually, so I volunteered for a 
year. I think evolutionary anarchism is a pretty 
good description of my political philosophy, and I 
wanted to get back in touch wi'h radical politics. 
If anyone's interested in reading MQ, my first issue 
will be out November 1, and I have some back issues. 
Just write to me to get a copy, and include a small 
donation if you can afford it. 



(I try to take care of, fix, and make things myself. 
To learn T read how-to books that experts have written-- 
cheaper than buying their time on a one-to-one, face- 
to-face basis). Meat every day (once in a while is 

enough). B acon 'n' eggs (I don't buy bacon because 
of additives and I use eggs only when I get a yen for 
them). Desserts (perhaps once a month; candy even less 
often). Expensive 10-speed (I push my second-hand 
3-speed (or 1-speed) when the going gets steep). State- 
of-the-art knapsack (mine is a simple home-made). 

If there is something you think you absolutely 
must have, consider that there are probably millions of 
people in the world who routinely get along without it. 



Blackout Books 



OPENING OCTOBER 15 1 



Well, I'm back in the radical bookstore 
"business." Blackout is a group of fun-lovin' 
anarchists who've been selling radical ix>litical 
publications at events and on the street for about a 
year. Diana and I got involved a couple of months 
ago, and at just the right time, as the project is 
exploding into action. We're opening a bookstore/ 
info-shop on the Lower East Side in October. (For 
you New Yorkers: it's 50 Avenue B between 3 a ^d 4 
Streets) I'm very excited about the project; it's 
similar to what I dreamed of doing in Phoenix, but I 
didn't have the know-how, and Phoenix didn't have the 
support. But New York is full of people and 
organizations just waiting for something like this. 
And the project is run by a collective, so there is 
a lot of potential for the store to accomplish a lot 
and for many other projects to grow out of it. The 
group is great to work with, and the store is going 
to be a huge success. Come on out and see us! 



Maintenance 

For the toaster, blender, chain-saw, and electric 
toothbrush it's simple — since I don't have any. But I 
do have a bicycle, sewing machine and typewriter to 
contend with. I learned bike mechanics primarily 
through books and how to service my sewing machine by 
reading the owner's manual. I approach typewriter 
repair on a trial and error basis. 



Health Care 

Taking care of my own body is a more complex matter. 
My first line of defense is preventative medicine, but 
even so, sometimes I get sick or have an accident. 
Learning what to do when that happens, without recourse 
to exorbitantly priced doctors, has been difficult. 
Some books have helped i Where There Is N o Doctor , David 
Werner, Hesperian Foundation, POB 1^92, Palo Alto, CA 
9^302; Being Your Own Wilderness Doc tor, Angier and 
Kodet; Medicine for Mountaineering ; The Merck Manual ; 
Wilderness Medicine; William Forgey. 



Recreation 

Because my way of living does minimal un-creating, 
re-creating isn't called for. Or putting it another 
way, my everyday activities are my recreation: making 
bread, walking in the woods to fetch water, picking 
berries, bicycling, making clothes, writing, reading. 

I tried a daily 30-minute meditation period. 
Although free, it didn't do anything for me so I gave 
it up. I think the reason it was a flop is because 
I already meditate practically all the time. I'm 
constantly reflecting about what I experience. I think 
that's important if one wishes to live economically; 
otherwise it's easy to get caught up in someone else's 
expensive follies. 



Unnecessiti es 

Oven (I bake on top of my woo l stove in a foil-covered 
pan) . TV. Newspapers . Shampoo (I use bar soap for 
hair as well as body). Toothpa ste (I use water and 
elbow grease — along with mv brush. A little dental 
pumice every few p.onths removes stains). Deodorant 
(washing suffices). Pa .jamas . Aspirin (and other 
palliative drugs). Supermarke ts (of the myriad items, 
I purchase only meat, eggs, cheese, and produce — if 
there's no better place to buy them). P rofessionals 



Goodbye to 
Consumerism 



Over the years since I escaped from suburbia, 
I've been moving further and further away from 
consumerism and consumer culture, and it's a relief 
and a wonder to think of all the garbage I've left 
behind. Part of it is physical garbage: I've gotten 
rid of a huge amount of material possessions that were 
weighing me down; and another part is mental garbage: 
I really don't miss TV and all those movies at all, 
and it frees up time and brain space for actual living. 
It's amazing what insane creatures we Americans really 
are. We convince ourselves that we need all the 
unnecessary things we see advertised, and 'hen we must 
throw away 'K) hours a week of our lives to pay for it. 

So I'm checking out of the machine as much as I 
can, by getting ^id of my garbage, and by experimenting 
with alternative housing. When our sublet was up, 
Diana and I couldn't stand the idea of hitting the 
regular apartment market and giving away our money just 
to live. And, we didn't have any money, so we got 
creative. Diana's in the M.F.A. program at Hunter, 
and she gets a studio space, which is now our living 
space. It's not really allowed, but the authorities 
look the other way. It's presented some challenges, 
since there's no kitchen or shower (a hot plate and 
trips to the locker room at Hunter solve that), but 
it's free , and that means less of our time is wasted at 
some job making rent money. 

Of course, I'm nowhere near the simple life that 
is my ideal, but I'm learning. I've gotten a lot of 
inspiration from Julie Summers, who wrote the articles 
that follow. 

Julie also writes for Dwelling Portably (reviewed 
in the back). You can write to her at their address. 



Escargot 



On A 



Slug Budget 



by Julie Summers 



One way to get wealthy is to make lots of money. 
Another, often overlooked approach is to live abundantly 
on little. If you think Thoreau was able to do that 
at Walden but .hat it's out of the question in today's 
world, consider this: from 1977-1982 I averaged $576 
per year. And in 1992, though inflation has steadily 
pushed up prices, I've learned to be even more 
economical, thus I still spend less than $600 a year. 
(I don't get food stamps or welfare either.) I live 
comfortably, not longing for anything more money could 
buy. (in fact I'd spend more if there were things 
available that I thought would make my life better.) 

I live in beautiful, peaceful surroundings, 
without smog, noise, hustle or bustle. I eat well. My 
health is good. My time is mostly my own, since I need 
devote little of it to earning money. 

I do not live as I do because of a religion. Nor 
am I an ascetic, fugitive, or primitivist. I live as I 
do because after trying various other ways (all more 
expensive and prov'ding less leisure) I find my present 
situation gives me the most satisfaction. I'm not out 
to set a record for living on little money; it just 
happens that what I've found to be the most congenial 
is at the same time very economical. 

Food 

My diet is based on grains and pulses (the edible seeds 
of plants having pods—peas, beans, lentils, etc.) 
bought minimally processed, in bulk — often 30-100 pound 
sacks — from wholesalers: wheat, rice, millet, corn, 
beans, and lentils. Also alfal'a, sesame, and 
sunflower seeds; nuts; and dried fruit. Because of 
perishability I buy baking yeast and oil in smaller 
amounts (by the gallon) at natural food stores. 

I try not to be attached to any particular food. 
When one shoots up in price, I cut down, substitute, or 



simply do without. E.g., when raisins were extremely 
high I used dates, which were less expensive. When rice 
was many times the price of other grains I eliminated 
it. Cheese is so expensive that it's now in my 
luxury category and I buy it infrequently. 

To increase the nutritional content of my fare I 
sprout alfalfa and other seeds. I also buy fresh fruits 
and vegetables that are currently low in price, such as 
carrots and oranges. I buy eggs when I crave them— I 
may go months without any. I use meat very irregularly, 
perhaps on the average of once a week. 

I do some foraging; mostly for berries and greens, 
occasionally for a squirrel. 

I seldom eat out. That must save a bundle* But 
it's not simply a question of money: the food most 
restaurants serve (often reheated, highly seasoned, and 
doused with chemicals) is not what I want to eat. Also 
I don't care for the waiter- patron relationship, and I 
don't like having to worry about my table manners. 

From 1977-' 82 Iaveraged about $297 a year for food. 

Shelter 

My partner and I live in an old trailer. Admittedly 

small, it's still adequate since all we want to do is 

live in it, not use it as a status symbol. It keeps 

us dry, it's easy to heat, easy to clean, and everything 

is within easy reach. It's also mobile so we can 

change scenerv without much trouble. 

We usually live in sub-rural, woodsv areas, 
trading a few hours of work a month for camping 
privileges. 

Clothes 

I don't wear any — when I can get away with it. For ., 
nasty weather, armed berry bushes, and intolerant 
people, I cover up. Free-boxes, second hand outlets, 
or home industry provide most of my garments. They 
may not be highly fashionable but they serve the 
necessary functions. 



Transportation 

I don't have a car. I walk, ride a bike, hitch, or 

take the bus. (To move the trailer I borrow a vehicle.)